sowreport2Today’s water challenges and opportunities clearly impact many different jurisdictions, stakeholders and communities. Addressing the protection, allocation and management of water resources requires creative and coordinated efforts. Through a growing number of public and private sector programs and partnerships, some of which are unique, SEAWA is making it easier to share water data, research opportunities and best practices.

Knowledge of our watershed’s health is the foundation of effective decision-making. SEAWA’s State of the Watershed Report was created to improve access to, and sharing of, all water related data and information on the South Saskatchewan River Sub-basin.

Through its programs and projects, the general public, stakeholders and resource managers are now able to engage in informed discussion, and through these discussions, make meaningful recommendations for improvements to the basin’s management.

Enhancing the sustainability of industrial development and agriculture can, with care, protect our watersheds and improve our environmental performance. For example, the environmental sustainability of farmed areas cannot be considered without first considering the factors that affect environmental, social and economic aspects of agricultural production.

In this regard, SEAWA is promoting the adoption of best practices across the agricultural sector, such as protecting the quality and productivity of farmed soils, reducing soil erosion and salinity, conserving and restoring soil organic matter, protecting quality of surface and groundwater, preserving and restoring riparian zones, and maintaining or improving the quality of rangelands. Careful attention to these factors will inevitably lead to a better match of land use to the region’s land and water capability.

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SEAWA distributes newsletters to advance awareness of the issues and work being done across the basin and has held workshops, forums and conferences to improve knowledge of the region’s groundwater resources and best practices. SEAWA regularly conducts bus and river tours to provide residents with a real and interactive experience with the watershed, and continually engages local students in research projects relating to watershed resources and challenges.

Through online social networks and other programs, SEAWA is also reaching out and engaging the region’s youth in stewardship activities. Collectively, the improvements and opportunities that emerge from SEAWA’s programs and projects support the goals and principles of other key policy documents and approaches, including Alberta’s Water for Life strategy and the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan being developed under the Land-use Framework.